Writing the Essay

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Writing the Essay

U.S. History

Organization
• Basics
– Introduction (4-5 sentences) – Body (4-6 sentences each) – Conclusion (3-5 sentences)

• Paragraphs
– Should be concise and TO THE POINT
• Avoid paragraphs that are longer than one page

• Helpful Hint
– Use a concluding sentence to each body paragraph to summarize main idea and reiterate your thesis

• **This does not differ between FRQs and DBQs

Introduction
• Length: 4-5 sentences • Be sure of what the question is asking of you – Analyze the question, breaking it down into parts. Some people restate the question in their own words including the main points and offering a blueprint.

• • • •

Leave the reader wanting to read more of your essay. Write a thesis statement and provide a brief example Be mindful of TENSE NEVER USE THE FOLLOWING: – – – – I, You, We, Us “In this essay” “The following will” Contractions (won’t, couldn’t, can’t, etc.)

Thesis Statement
• The thesis statement is more than a restatement of the question or a description of relevant information. – It requires some judgment and interpretation of the evidence. – Answer a relevant question that could be asked about the topic

• Your thesis is your argument with your essay being your evidence

Thesis Statement cont’d
• Contain qualifiers that limit the statement to a precise and defensible point – Ex/ “During the Civil War” or “In the years following emancipation”

• Make an affirmative statement
– Try to keep it to one sentence

• This should include a brief indication of how thesis will be supported

SAMPLE: Thesis Statement
Essay Question: Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and foreign affairs in shaping American politics in the 1790s.

Thesis Statement: During the 1790s [qualifier], both domestic and foreign affairs contributed greatly [evaluation] to the shaping of American politics. The divisive impact of the French Revolution molded foreign policy debates. Domestically,...
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